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Lauren Williams's picture

Quality pre-k is key to state's educational and economic future

Education may be the great equalizer, but not every child in Alabama has an equal opportunity to quality education.

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No need to study school start times, just change them

Here’s a chance to make a change that really is in the best interests of the majority of students, who should not go to class in sad shape so a relatively few of their classmates can pursue athletics when it is convenient for them. A bill directing the education establishment to fix the start time rather than create more studies and reports to gather dust should be written.

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It's time to re-evaluate the pre-eminence of high school sports

High school football is a great source of community spirit and pride for many towns. It's practically unpatriotic to suggest options other than our current paradigm. And who's to say that an academically-driven schedule in Sayreville would have protected those boys from criminal assault? But our Friday Night Lights fixation is getting in the way of student learning.

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What matters more than test scores

Our policymakers' obsession with test scores is unhealthy and counter-productive. We should stop obsessing about test scores and start obsessing about the health and well-being of children and their families. The gains would be far more valuable than a few points on a standardized test.

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Don’t let politics kill Illinois’ school funding debate

Equity, fairness and transparency — these are things Illinoisans have lamented about the state’s method of funding schools for decades. However, few have been willing to do the heavy lifting that comes with proposing an overhaul. Let’s have a fair, thoughtful, rhetoric-free debate about the new school funding reform bill.

Funding gaps still problem for schools

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision not to take up a lawsuit that says Alabama's caps on property taxes are racially discriminatory may appear to give state leaders a reprieve on rapid reforms to ensure public schools in impoverished areas are adequately funded. But they better not wait long or they could risk facing civil rights complaints and federal monitoring under new guidelines aimed at ridding schools of racial inequities.

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Conservatives should be cautious about school prayer efforts

Public prayer and discussion by and with adults is fine. Reasonable people firm in their faith can tolerate our many differences in such forums, or at least they should. Having our children's faith potentially incorrectly taught by a well-meaning teacher at their public school, however, may be a step too far.

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Wireless internet access decreases at schools for students

While the majority (93 percent) of elementary, middle and high school students have wireless access to the Internet at home, a recent study conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Pearson revealed that connectivity shrinks when they get to school — only 62 percent have wireless access there.

Poverty is the strongest indicator for attending college

Students from high-poverty public schools are less likely to attend college than those from wealthier ones, regardless of whether they're from urban, suburban or rural areas, according to a report by National Student Clearinghouse. The report found that poverty remains a more important indicator of whether a student will go to college than high school demographics or location.

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Rumors can undermine school-community partnership

The relationship between parents, community members and our schools has undergone significant changes over the past two decades. All too often, schools find themselves on the defensive, spending critical time defusing rumors, time that would be better devoted to the primary task at hand of educating children.

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